Cheese Whey Spill: $80,000 Fine

Cheese Whey Spill: $80,000 Fine

By Meredith James

Even seemingly innocuous substances, like human food and drink, can be hazardous to the natural environment. And spills of food and drink must be reported.

Silani Sweet Cheese Limited manufactures a cheese at a facility in Bradford, West Gwilliumbury. In January 2013, ricotta cheese whey overflowed from a silo at the site. Although the discharge only lasted 10 minutes, approximately 1,200 litres of whey flowed into the surrounding field, toward a very slow flowing stream inhabited by minnows and invertebrates. Silani did not report the spill to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The spilled whey had the potential to have an adverse effect on plant and animal life in the stream. The Ministry prosecuted Silani for failing to notify them of the spill.

In addition, Silani’s annual report to the MOECC revealed that the average monthly concentration of Total Phosphorous in their effluent exceeded the amount permitted under their Certificate of Approval.

For both offences, Silani was fined $80,000 and given 18 months to pay.

    Dianne Saxe, Ontario Environmental Lawyer

Reprinted with permission from the Environmental Law and Litigation Blog.

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